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Evolution of the Online Conversation

Scoble’s 2007 Version

In 2007, Robert Scoble published the “Social Media Starfish” as pictured below (created by Scoble and Darren Barefoot). The premise is that all forms of social media are connected and I couldn’t agree more. Imagine you use Twitter to microblog and broadcast yourself, you use Flickr to post your photography that you share with your online friends and you are an avid blogger. They all are interconnected- some of your blog audience is your Twitter audience and some of your Twitter audience is your Flickr audience and so on and so forth.

Solis’ 2008 Version

While Scoble’s graph was sufficient for the time, social media has grown exponentially not only in options for applications but in actual users, rendering the “Social Media Starfish” lacking. This year, Brian Solis published “The Conversation Prism” that shows how social media has evolved (co-created with JESS3). What’s most intriguing to me is that Solis has captured the science of the social media movement of these applications overlapping, not just connecting.

click here for the enlarged version

Solis notes “conversations are taking place with or without you and this map will help you visualize the potential extent and pervasiveness of the online conversations that can impact and influence your business and brand.”

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The takeaway of Solis’ Conversation Prism is that “in the social economy, relationships are the new currency.” We’ve been saying this for a while but Solis sums it up so concisely and eloquently. Kudos to Brian Solis for leading the evolution.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Chris de Jong

    August 13, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Fantastic post Lani! It is amazing to see the evolution of social media from one year to the next. Especially the emphasis that is put on Twitter – I guess it really is the next killer app!

    My RE take away from this would be that in order to capitalize on social media, real-estate professionals should try to position themselves at the center of this conversation, so they can take advantage of the discussions and turn them into business.

  2. Todd

    August 13, 2008 at 10:06 am

    “…Imagine you use Twitter to microblog and broadcast yourself, you use Flickr to post your photography that you share with your online friends and you are an avid blogger. They all are interconnected- some of your blog audience is your Twitter audience and some of your Twitter audience is your Flickr audience and so on and so forth.”

    FYI – The above is not only a good way to build up relationship currency, but it just so happens to be the the rumored way Google’s bots and crawlers assign ranking order displayed in a keyword search. “Relationship currency” and SEO are two sides of the same coin. 😉

  3. Joseph Bridges

    August 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    These tools, some new and some older, allow everyone to connect and build a better network. I don’t believe that “in the social economy, relationships are the new currency”. Relationships have always been currency and have always been valuable. These tools just allow everyone to have a greater reach and have more relationships. The core that relationships which lead to referrals and other opportunities hasn’t changed just the medium in which we connect with them.

  4. James Bridges

    August 13, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I think this helps show a great picture of social networking. I will say though looking at it I get an additional interpretation.
    Seeing as “The Conversion” is at the center it demonstrates that the value you aim to achieve is a combination of different forms of networking meeting to the point of value. Since each one overlaps, not intersects, it shows that participating in different networks will allow you to reach your conversion point (in real estate a referral or preferrably a sale 🙂 ).

  5. Sherry Baker

    August 13, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    What’s really amazing to me is that there are agents walking around who don’t have a CLUE about any of this… and when it’s presented to them, they just don’t care about it.

  6. Eric Blackwell

    August 13, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I think the key to unlocking the potential of what you have brilliantly pointed out, Lani…is prioritizing which conversation places will yield the best conversations that will yield the best relationships between you and your customer.



  7. Vicki Moore

    August 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    And it’s a pretty flower too. Seriously seeing the visual enforces what I already knew – there are a ton of them and deciding where to put my time is going to become more and more crucial. Thank goodness many of them are linked and populate updates. All this in just a year.

    Sherry – If I wasn’t here I wouldn’t either. It invaluable to have it deciphered, thought out and presented by an expert in social media.

  8. Ruthmarie Hicks

    August 14, 2008 at 3:27 am

    This is totally overwhelming….At some point we have to tear ourselves away from the computer long enough to come out of our caves and be in the “real world.” Balance is key!

  9. Paula Henry

    August 14, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    The growth is Amazing! Seeing it in this format and now I know why I can’t keep up:( I need a social media assistant – yes, that’s the key – someone just like me.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Whew… that makes me tired just looking at it. This is why I am glad to be with AG, Twitter, etc… I can find out what’s worth working on and what isn’t….

    Ruthemarie: I’ve got to tell you that I used to feel that way, but social media has made the world smaller and it’s becoming the real world. The folks that I meet through this system, I meet in person and talk to on the phone just as I do my church or my close friends. Matter of fact… I’ve introduced my friends, family and church folks to these systems which have REALLY enhanced all those relationships.

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